Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. District Court.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced this morning that it is charging a St. Louis County jail administrator for helping an unnamed businessman fraudulently apply for COVID-19 relief funds in exchange for a cut of the money.
The indictment against Anthony Weaver, a St. Louis County jail change management coordinator, accuses him of four counts of wire fraud. Weaver appeared in federal court today and pled not guilty.
Before taking on his role at the county jail in January 2020, Weaver was an administrative assistant for a St. Louis County Councilmember, who is listed as "Jane Doe" in the indictment.
The businessman Weaver allegedly aided is named "John Smith" in the indictment.
In May 2020, the indictment alleges that Weaver and Smith discussed Smith's business holdings and how much COVID-19 relief money each could possibly receive.
Anthony Weaver leaving federal court today, where he pled not guilty.
"Fifteen thousand dollars each business. That's a lot of money when you have four different businesses in one district. You're up to $65,000, $70,000," Weaver allegedly stated.
Smith replied, "There's the mechanic shop, the laundromat, supermarket, gas station, construction company, and Shepley. That's six. Six businesses."
"You get $90,000, sir," Weaver said. "That's $90,000. That's money, sir. ... as long as they put in different names."
The types of businesses Smith cites ownership of are very similar to those owned by Mohammed Almuttan, who is widely believed to be the "John Doe" in the recent indictments against St. Louis Board of Aldermen president Lewis Reed and former aldermen John Collins-Muhammad and Jeffrey Boyd.
According to county property records, Almuttan owns property on Shepley Drive in north county.
At that same meeting in May, Weaver allegedly told Smith that he would fill out the COVID-19 relief fund applications for Smith's businesses. He also told Smith that although he was not currently an assistant to the councilwoman, he was still in a position to make sure the COVID-19 relief applications were approved.
"Trust me. I got it. They're going to do what I tell them to do," Weaver allegedly stated.
The indictment goes on to allege that Weaver coached Smith to lie on his applications for pandemic aid.
"Did you have any business interruption during the Corona for the laundromat?" Weaver asked Smith in May 2020.
"I don't think so," Smith replied.
"Well, you couldn't pay your light bill, your gas bill, heating bill ... Did it have any impact, to your knowledge, during Corona since it started in January?" Weaver allegedly asked.
"No, we were really busy," Smith said.
"You don't want to say that," Weaver stated, according to the indictment. He added: "You want to let them think you was closed, you had to lay off one of your employees."
At a later meeting with Smith, Weaver is alleged to have said, "I hope this place is not bugged ... that's how [former St. Louis County Executive Steve] Stenger got caught."
The indictment states that Weaver assisted in submitting $60,000 worth of fraudulent COVID-relief applications.
County Council member Tim Fitch responded to news of the Weaver indictment on Twitter saying, "This is just getting started folks. I would like to offer the U.S. Attorney & the FBI space in the county government building to do their important work."
This story has been updated with photos and Weaver's plea.
CORRECTION: A sentence in a previous version of this story inadvertently implied that "John Smith" received the COVID relief money. The funds were applied for, but not granted.